Monday, February 15, 2016

A Heavy Heart

To Ellena's Cocologie blog friends from her daughter Patricia

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that I am announcing the passing of our mother Ellena. She left us last Friday February the 12th.

Mom did mention her dark new friend 'Mabel' didn't she! It turns out that Mabel had a few tricks in her pocket that we did not anticipate! I have been at Mom's side for the last 4 weeks. I arrived on January 17th only to find out that her health had declined more than she had indicated. Mom often minimized symptoms and didn't realize that a little of this and a little of that can be an indication of something more serious. As it turns out, Mom had to go to the hospital on January 21st. The initial treatments looked promising with the hopes of her coming home on January 30th but everything unfortunately went sour that week end. Her condition deteriorated on a daily basis and we knew she would never leave the hospital.

I am grateful for the time we spent together these last 4 weeks even though it was emotionally painful and draining. Every single moment was mutually savoured as she interacted with my uncle (her brother) and aunt, my sister and her family, my brother, my cousin, myself and some of her closest friends. She was caring, loving and retained her sense of humour until the end.

I still can't believe that she is no longer with us. Her presence permeates throughout her apartment and I expect to see her, at any moment, sitting in her blue chair knitting a new pair of fancy socks!

Mom had many more delightful stories to tell. She had asked me to take pictures of various objects for her next posts. I may just write a few on her behalf ... Ellena stories from another perspective and told with love.

Thank you for following Mom's Cocological musings. She read your comments with delight and loved this 'new age' interaction.

Patricia (aka Pasha)


Rouchswalwe said...

Liebe Pasha, I am sending you a hug and a piece of my heart. Your dear Mama touched us all with her stories. Yes, please do write a few on her behalf. We'll be here.

marja-leena said...

My warmest condolences to you and your family! I have known your mother, dear Ellena, through our blogs for only a few years but always loved her cheerfulness and kindness and will miss her. I look forward to your stories here. Take care.

Sabine said...

Dear Patricia, my heart goes out to you and your family. Ellena was a cheerful presence and I especially enjoyed cycling along the Neckar and visiting Horb knowing that she had lived there. I remember her delight when I posted my pictures. The wide wide web world can become a place for friendship after all. I hope you will write more of Ellena's story.

Trish said...

Thank you Rouchswalwe, Marja-leena and Sabine for your kind and thoughtful words. Mom's blog was always a delight to read. I was familiar with some stories and delightfully surprised by others. Her blog has now become a 'sacred' place for me where I can be with her.

I'm looking forward to reading her followers' blogs. What one enjoys reading reflects one's essence as much as one writes!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Patricia, it's with shock and a heavy heart that I read this mesage from you. I have not been a frequent visitor to Ellena's marvellous blog but each time I come here, it's been a joy to 'hear' her special voice, her unique way of expressing herself. I feel as though I knew her personally even though e never met in real life. I am so deeply sorry to hear that she's gone. I didn't expect that 'Mabel' would take her away so quickly.

My most sincere and warmest condolences to you and to all your family, it's a blessing that you could be with her during her last days.

Lucy said...

Trisha, I am so, so sorry, I too hoped it wouldn't be so soon, of course. Ellena was just wonderful, a unique, charming, sharp, clear, sometimes unsettling, voice when she wrote, which was never often enough, but also the most observant, attentive, sensitive of friends at a distance; she remembered details, anniversaries, all kinds of things in quite extraordinary ways.

Thank you for coming here and sharing this very sad news with us, and please so so as often as you feel you wish to, if it helps you. And thank you for that lovely picture too, it was rare that she showed us herself like that, but it was always clear she was beautiful outside as well as within.

Take care.

Tom said...

For all her protestations to the contrary, I was frequently amazed at her understanding of, and penetration into, matters of mutual interest. I will miss her, and her kindness. She was special. My thoughts are with you and the rest of her family.

Roderick Robinson said...

O hell's bells. That's hard to take. And perhaps that's a measure of what Ellena meant to me; that I should immediately behave so selfishly without a thought for you and the rest who have lost so much. But then I can't help it; I can't of course hear her voice but believe me her writing was a wonderful ambassador on her behalf.

Her aim was to be modest, to go beyond modesty almost to invisibility. And she failed as she - a subtly intelligent person if ever there was one - must have known she would. Often her talk was of the smallest domestic matters but shaped in a way that made them glitter. Her style of writing seemed artless but it was the best kind of art - serving the subject never herself.

She said it took ages to come up with comment. At first sight I thought this was an ingenious excuse but quite quickly I knew it was the truth. Sometimes she'd leave less than ten words with me but the indirect angle and the lack of a single unnecessary word were unmistakably her.

One thing I can be proud of: I wasn't about to let her extraordinary skills go uncelebrated. Over and over I told her I was on to her; that no one who wrote as well as she did it for any other reason than a love of language.

And finally - how I hate that word - she brought her style to bear on a very big subject, her masterpiece: "The geriatric care wing of a pavillion attached to a nearby hospital" in April last year. A deliberately cumbersome title for a series of visits she made to old people. Here's how the first visit ends:

"I push the glass softly against his mouth and slip a straw between his lips. Glass empty..... his eyes still closed. I feel triumphant."

As well she might.

Although I've done this before I feel I must do it it again. EB White's children's book, Charlotte's Web, ends with a tribute I cannot better:

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte (and Ellena) was (were) both.

Beth said...

I'm so sorry. I have appreciated her comments and her gentle spirit, and my heart goes out to you who've lost much more than we have. It's hard to lose one's mother: I know.

Beth said...

I'm so sorry. I have appreciated her comments and her gentle spirit, and my heart goes out to you who've lost much more than we have. It's hard to lose one's mother: I know.

Halle said...

This cannot be easy for you Trish, and so the first thing is to thank you for writing as you have here, and then to tell you how very sorry this loss makes me for you.
Your mother was an agent for change in me, and a source of much inspiration and will be sorely missed. If in such fleeting interactions, she managed to affect me so much and others too from this comment stream, one can only guess what a hole her absence leaves for you and your family.

Bless you Ellena and you too Trish.